Uncovering Hidden Values: Exploring the ERC Employee Retention Credit

Uncovering the Hidden Value: Exploring the ERC Employee Retention Credit

The CARES Act provides relief for employers through the Employee Retention Credit (ERC) or Employee Retention Tax Credit, which provides various forms of concessions for workers. It is a fully refundable tax credit that is provided to eligible businesses that can continue to pay their employees. The ERC has been condensed as a result of the revisions to the revised and enhanced Infrastructure Bill. Let’s check the value of ERC employee retention credit.


Understanding the ERC

The Employee Retention Credit (ERC) was introduced as a refundable tax credit under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act in 2020. It has since been extended through subsequent legislation, reflecting its significance in providing economic relief during times of hardship, such as the COVID-19 pandemic.

The primary objective of the ERC is to incentivize employers to retain their employees during periods of economic uncertainty. By offering a tax credit, the government aims to encourage businesses to keep their workforce intact, thereby mitigating the negative impact of layoffs and supporting economic stability.

To be eligible for the ERC, businesses must meet specific criteria. One criterion is experiencing a significant decline in gross receipts. Initially, businesses had to demonstrate a decline of at least 50% in gross receipts for a quarter compared to the same quarter in the previous year. However, subsequent legislation expanded eligibility to include businesses with a decline of 20% or more in gross receipts, providing a wider range of businesses with access to the credit.

Another criterion for eligibility is facing a partial or complete suspension of business operations. This refers to businesses that were required by a governmental order to fully or partially suspend their operations due to COVID-19. Initially, this criterion was intended to support businesses directly impacted by government-mandated closures, such as restaurants and entertainment venues. However, subsequent updates to the employee retention credit program expanded eligibility, allowing businesses experiencing a significant decline in gross receipts to qualify for the credit, regardless of a mandatory shutdown.


Hidden Benefits of the ERC

Hidden Benefits of the ERC

Financial Support:

One of the most significant advantages of the Employee Retention Credit (ERC) is the substantial financial support it offers to eligible businesses. The credit provides a dollar-for-dollar reduction in an employer’s payroll tax liability, providing immediate financial relief that can significantly alleviate the burden on businesses during challenging times.

For qualified wages paid between March 13, 2020, and December 31, 2021, the ERC allows businesses to claim a credit of up to 70% of qualifying wages. This means that businesses can potentially recoup a significant portion of their labor costs. For example, if an eligible employer paid $10,000 in qualifying wages to an employee, they could potentially claim a credit of up to $7,000 for that quarter.

The maximum credit of $7,000 per employee per quarter is an essential aspect of the ERC for new business‘s financial support. This means that businesses can potentially receive a substantial credit for each eligible employee they retain. The availability of this credit on a quarterly basis further enhances its value, as businesses can claim the credit repeatedly throughout the designated period.


Retroactive Eligibility:

One of the hidden values of the Employee Retention Credit (ERC) is its retroactive eligibility. Even if businesses did not claim the credit in 2020, they can still retroactively claim it for qualified wages paid during that period. This retroactive provision presents a significant opportunity for businesses that were either unaware of the credit or did not meet the initial requirements to recoup substantial amounts of money.

The retroactive eligibility of the ERC allows businesses to look back at their qualified wages paid between March 13, 2020, and December 31, 2020, and determine if they meet the criteria for claiming the credit. This means that businesses that did not take advantage of the ERC during the early stages of the pandemic can now reassess their eligibility and potentially recover missed opportunities for financial relief.

For example, a business that experienced a significant decline in gross receipts or faced a partial or complete suspension of business operations during 2020 but was not aware of the ERC at the time can still evaluate their eligibility and submit a retroactive claim. This opens up the possibility of recouping substantial amounts of money that can make a significant impact on their financial situation.

In the context of ERC employee retention credit, it is worth noting that retroactive eligibility requires businesses to file amended payroll tax returns or utilize other appropriate methods to claim the credit. This may involve working closely with tax professionals or utilizing specialized tools and resources to ensure accurate and compliant claims.

The retroactive provision of the ERC serves as a lifeline for businesses that may have struggled during the early stages of the pandemic without accessing the credit. It provides them with an opportunity to recover and leverage the financial benefits they were entitled to but might have missed.


Dual Benefit with PPP:

Dual Benefit with PPP:

Many businesses have already availed themselves of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans, which also aimed to support struggling businesses during the pandemic. The ERC can work in conjunction with the PPP, providing a dual benefit to eligible businesses. Previously, businesses were not allowed to claim both the ERC and PPP funds. However, recent legislation has removed this limitation, allowing businesses to claim both, as long as the wages used for the ERC credit are not also included in the forgiveness calculation for the PPP loan. This update provides businesses with an additional financial boost.


Expanded Eligibility:

Initially, the ERC was primarily designed for businesses facing complete or partial shutdowns due to government-mandated restrictions. However, recent updates have expanded eligibility, making the credit accessible to a broader range of businesses. For instance, businesses experiencing a significant decline in gross receipts (50% or more compared to the same quarter in the previous year) can now claim the ERC, even if they have not faced a government-mandated suspension. This expansion widens the scope of businesses that can benefit from the credit.


Proactive Planning:

While the ERC has provided immense value during the pandemic, it is essential to recognize its potential as a tool for proactive planning. As the world navigates through the recovery phase, businesses can strategically utilize the ERC to bolster their operations and retain valuable employees. By incorporating the credit into long-term planning, businesses can improve their financial resilience, mitigate future risks, and create a more stable work environment.


Final thoughts

The ERC has undoubtedly proven to be a hidden gem for businesses, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. It has offered significant financial benefits and support, which have played a crucial role in helping businesses navigate through the economic hardships caused by the global health crisis. For details on ERC employee retention credit, you can contact Tributan.